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Ancient Observatory (Guguanxiangtai)

Address: No.2 Dongbiaobei Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100005, China
Phone Number: 010-65242202
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Ranked #124 of 1,198 Attractions in Beijing
Type: Historic Sites, Observation Decks/ Towers, Observatories/ Planetariums, Cultural
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Attraction details
Fee: Yes
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: Eight huge astronomical instruments are displayed on an elevated platform at this observatory, which was used during the Ming and Qing dynasties, and is one of the oldest observatories in the world.

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27 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Seattle, Washington, United States
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
7 attraction reviews
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 2, 2014

This was one of my favorite stops in Beijing, probably because it was the quietest place I found in the city. Though the ancient tools are maintained, the buildings and displays have not been updated for decades. Still the courtyard and rooftop were like little sanctuaries in the city with a glimpse of both the ancient and more modern past... More

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Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2014

Definitely off the beaten path, it was fascinating to see ancient astronomical equipment at the top of this old building near the centre of Beijing. A must-visit for anyone interested in science history or astronomy, or to see something genuinely different. You'll probably spend 45 - 60 minutes here.

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Rio Linda, California
19 reviews 19 reviews
18 attraction reviews
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2014

The Ancient Observatory is a museum showcasing China's development in astronomy. Most of the advances were made as a result of western influence, particularly Jesuit missionary sharing of western technology. However, the Chinese put their own spin on them. This site is very easy to get to since it is only about three blocks from the Beijing Railway station and... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 1
Top Contributor
152 reviews 152 reviews
36 attraction reviews
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 17, 2014

This place is located right next to the Subway Line-2 Jianguomen Station, though you can see the ancient navigation instruments on top of a section of the old Beijing City Wall from far away. It is a small museum and an interesting one. Besides the ancient instruments on display, it also has three exhibition rooms, showing the history and technologies... More

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Beijing, China
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2013

The Ancient Observatory is an absolute gem in the heart of Beijing. If you are looking for an attraction that is different, historical and interesting then I'm sure this will be for you. I don't know why this is has criticized so heavily.

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Daly City, California, United States
Top Contributor
159 reviews 159 reviews
118 attraction reviews
424 helpful votes 424 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

Tickets cost 20 RMB. There is a small museum in there that's not maintained really well. There isn't any english explanations on what is what. The main points of interest are the small garden located at the south end and the walk up to the tower which has the old instruments to measure the year at the top. Other than... More

Was this review helpful? Yes 3
Tullamore, Ireland
Senior Contributor
38 reviews 38 reviews
29 attraction reviews
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

Although normally accompanied by my wife everywhere I went in Beijing, I went here alone. A Chinese lady was going to accompany me, but at the last minute she wasn't able to spare the afternoon, which was a shame as she could have done some translating for me! It was a pleasant sunny (but still cold) February afternoon. It cost... More

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Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
12 attraction reviews
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2012

I wrote a book on a photographer named John Thomson who visited Beijing in 1870. He photographed the ancient observatory, and during our visit we were amazed to see it looks about the same. This is a sleeper for anyone fascinated by astronomy or even just unique aesthetics. The day we went with our Chinese friend, we had the place... More

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Shanghai, China
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
32 attraction reviews
44 helpful votes 44 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 17, 2012 via mobile

This is a very cool place to see but a lot of people may not like it. It has several ancient sky observation tools to see. It is right next to the Jingguamen subway stop an is easy to get to.

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Tel Aviv, Israel
Top Contributor
1,210 reviews 1,210 reviews
1,012 attraction reviews
621 helpful votes 621 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed April 2, 2012

This is a pretty average observatory, with only a few exhibits. Make sure to do your homework properly, as the exact nature of the instruments cannot be fully understood from the very basic plaques on the site.

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